By Justin Franz
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Two former Chicago & North Western F7 locomotives are bound for a new home at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum.
The locomotives, F7s 576 and 578, were previously owned by the United Railroad Historical Society of New Jersey and leased to Iowa Pacific Holdings. Although they are former CNW locomotives, they are currently painted in Lehigh Valley red and black. Not long after the lease began, the two classic cab units got tied up with Iowa Pacific’s financial and legal troubles and were left abandoned in Mississippi, along with other pieces of equipment owned by URHS.
The two F-units were supposed to be returned to URHS in operating condition but were instead left on a siding and were heavily vandalized. According to URHS, the windshields were smashed, the horns and number boards were stolen and gauges ripped out of the cab. The non-profit decided to sell some equipment in order to bring other pieces back home. When TVRM heard about the plight of the locomotives, they jumped into action.
“While there is no specific timetable for an eventual return to service, it was important to act now and make sure that the locomotives were preserved for future use,” the railroad said on Facebook this week.